Author Topic: Node  (Read 2500 times)

Offline John

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Node
« on: October 11, 2011, 08:36:06 PM »
Why Everyone Is Talking About Node

“Node takes a language people know very well — Javascript — and makes it available to do server programming, as well.”

Node.js. It's the latest in a long line of "Are you cool enough to use me?" programming languages, APIs, and toolkits. In that sense, it lands squarely in the tradition of Rails, and Ajax, and Hadoop, and even to some degree iPhone programming and HTML5. Go to a big technical conference, and you'll almost certainly find a few talks on Node.js, although most will fly far over the head of the common mortal programmer.

Dig a little deeper, and you'll hear that Node.js (or, as it's more briefly called by many, simply "Node") is a server-side solution for JavaScript, and in particular, for receiving and responding to HTTP requests. If that doesn't completely boggle your mind, by the time the conversation heats up with discussion of ports, sockets, and threads, you'll tend to glaze over. Is this really JavaScript? In fact, why in the world would anyone want to run JavaScript outside of a browser, let alone the server?

The good news is that you're hearing (and thinking) about the right things. Node really is concerned with network programming and server-side request/response processing. The bad news is that like Rails, Ajax, and Hadoop before it, there's precious little clear information available. There will be, in time — as there now is for these other "cool" frameworks that have matured — but why wait for a book or tutorial when you might be able to use Node today, and dramatically improve the maintainability of your code and even the ease with which you bring on programmers?

A warning to the Node experts out there

Node is like most technologies that are new to the masses, but old hat to the experienced few: it's opaque and weird to most but completely usable for a small group. The result is that if you've never worked with Node, you're going to need to start with some pretty basic server-side scripts. Take your time making sure you know what's going on, because while this is JavaScript, it's not operating like the client-side JavaScript you're used to. In fact, you're going to have to twist your JavaScript brain around event loops and waiting and even a bit of network theory.

Node Project Site

Note:

I compiled Node on my Ubuntu 64 system without issue. You can get a pre-compiled Windows version off the site.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 09:14:38 PM by JRS »